Dwayne Johnson has promised to change the hierarchy of the DC Universe when Black Adam comes to theaters, but when exactly is it taking place?
The DCEU has been a confusing universe because of its incohesive timeline. There are two versions of the Justice League movie, the Flash movie Flashpoint is presumably resetting the universe, and there are multiple movies set in the multiverse rather than the main timeline. There’s been no official word yet if Henry Cavill’s Superman will return and creators have been quiet about these stories connecting. Despite this, it’s still possible to ascertain where Black Adam fits into the DCEU timeline. It just takes a bit of analysis and deduction to get a clearer picture.
Black Adam’s Past
From the DC Fandome trailer, Black Adam’s story will begin 5,000 years ago. Back then, he was known as Teth-Adam, an enslaved person living in Kahndaq, the fictional DCEU country that’s comparable to Egypt. After Teth-Adam’s son sacrifices himself to save his father, the man becomes driven by fury and vengeance. He’s given the power of Egyptian gods by the wizard Shazam, but because of his harsher brand of justice against his oppressors, he’s imprisoned for thousands of years until he reemerged in the modern age.
Because Johnson has referenced matchups between the other heavy-hitters that Black Adam could go toe-to-toe against, we can safely assume the movie happens after the events of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. After Superman dies at the hands of Doomsday in Batman v. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Aquaman team up together to resurrect him and fight Darkseid’s soldier Steppenwolf to prevent him from taking over the world — in the end, using General Zod’s chamber in his crashed Kryptonian ship and the motherbox.
Black Adam in the Present
At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Black Adam director Jaume Collet-Serra was asked if Superman would fight Black Adam, and he replied, “Our movie is an original story. By the time the movie ends, he doesn’t know who Shazam or Superman is,” but if Johnson has his way an eventual showdown isn’t out of the question. Collet-Serra never says that Superman and Shazam aren’t around, simply that Black Adam doesn’t know about them. Black Adam is single-minded in every respect, only concerning himself with issues surrounding Kahndaq, so it’s not surprising he wouldn’t be aware of the DCEU at large.
Black Adam and Shazam
The best indicator of when Black Adam takes place is actually in his rival’s film, Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Shazam and Black Adam have a long-held rivalry spanning decades in the comic books. Both have had their godly powers granted to them by the wizard Shazam, only Billy Batson’s is based on the Greek god pantheon, and Black Adam is based on the Egyptian god pantheon. Both movies are reportedly occurring at the same time, which would explain why Shazam doesn’t intervene in Kahndaq and the JSA does.
Fury of the Gods takes place five years after the original movie. Shazam’s family of superheroes have been active during that time helping the people of Philadelphia, and we don’t have reason to believe their heroics extend beyond their corner of the DCEU. The first Shazam was released in 2018, and that would make the upcoming movies set in 2022-2023.
Black Adam comes to theaters on Oct. 21 and Fury of the Gods releases Dec. 21, 2023, and the rumor is that the third Shazam! film and the second Black Adam film will be a matchup between the two titans. Keeping the stories in accord, timeline-wise, would make that highly-anticipated brawl all the more efficient when it finally happens.